Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 6
FIRST FRUITS: GLEANINGS:
OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS: RESURRECTION
Daniel 12 & 9
Let’s turn to 2 Thessalonians Chapter 2. Now, just for a little recap from the last lesson. I hope I didn’t leave any questions unanswered. The first resurrection of believers of all ages is really broken down into the three categories as indicated by Israel’s harvest of grain. That is, first there were the ‘first fruits,’ which was of course epitomized by Christ, and those that came out of the graves in Matthew 27.
We have the Main harvest that came from the Church Age and the great resurrection day at the Rapture, or the trumpet sound when Christ shall leave Heaven and meet us in the air. The Old Testament believers as well as the Tribulation Believers who will have been martyred and died, seemingly are represented by the gleanings and the corners that were left in the Jewish harvest, and they will be resurrected shortly after the kingdom has begun.
Then, I hardly had time to explain at the end of the lesson, but you see this is why we have that picture in the parables, and in the Old Testament, that the Jewish believers will be the guests at the wedding feast. We won’t take time to look at that, but if you want to, you can pick that up in Psalms Chapter 45, I think. It’s also alluded to in the Song of Solomon. Lots of people don’t understand the Song of Solomon as being so typical of Christ and His Bride, the Church. Now on our Time Line we’re coming to that next event. The Church Age will have ended with the Rapture, and then we know that the Tribulation will be ushered in next. It will be that seven years not associated with the Church – because the Church Age has ended – it’s gone. Instead, we’ll be coming back to God’s dealing with the Jew once again. I’ll never forget a little lady in one of my classes, all of a sudden she just happened to see it. Then she exclaimed, “In other words God’s going to pick up with the Jews where he left off.” She hit the nail on the head perfectly.
Now, he has taken this Old Testament program, as we saw back in Psalms Chapter 2. God’s time table stopped when He turned to the Gentiles with the Gospel of Grace. When that period has ended you will find Grace and Law cannot mix. Israel is going to have the Temple, she’s going to go back under the Law. If ever I have any argument that we will not go into the Tribulation, it’s that one purpose right there. You can not mix Law and Grace. Therefore, Grace cannot go into the Jewish economy, as it will pick up again in that seven-year Tribulation period. It has to be removed, so they cannot be mixed.
Paul, here in 2 Thessalonians, is coming as close to prophecy, if you want to call it that, as he does in any portion of his writings. He is introducing us to this seven-year period of time which Jesus in Matthew 24 calls the time of Tribulation. Now in 2 Thessalonians Chapter 2 verse 1 Paul writes to the Thessalonians believers who, believe it or not, had gotten to the place with all the persecution that they were under, and all the pressure, they were afraid that the Rapture had taken place, and they had missed it. So, Paul had to quickly come back with 2 Thessalonians and reassure them that they hadn’t missed the Rapture, that, yes, things were going to get tough, but it wasn’t their situation.
II Thessalonians 2:1,2
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”
Do you see how that little bunch of words sets that completely apart from the second Coming. See, at the second Coming Christ won’t be gathering people unto Himself. He’s coming! But here Paul is referring to an act of Christ where He’s going to gather His own unto himself, and that’s the Rapture. Verse 2: “That you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled.” In other words, Paul is setting their mind at ease that they hadn’t missed the Rapture. And he’s going to give them points to look for so that they’ll know that they haven’t missed it. “Neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that day of Christ is at hand.” Here is a time to stop and define. The Day of Christ is referring to that outcalling of the Church, the Rapture. The Day of The Lord, the Day of Jehovah, the Day of God; that is this period of time, including the Tribulation and into the Second Coming and the setting up of the Kingdom. That’s all referred to as the Day of The Lord, etc. But, the day of Christ is that time when Christ will call the Body of Christ unto himself.
II Thessalonians 2:3
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;…”
Let’s look at what he says. “that day”, the day of Christ, the calling out of the body, “shall not come except there come a falling away first.” Now, that word in the Greek is ‘apostasia,’ from which we get the word, apostasy. Now, I’m afraid too many Christians, churchgoers and members, do not know what apostasy is. I can remember when I was young, I thought it had something to do with the Apostles, but I wouldn’t doubt that a lot of other people think the same thing, because it is so close in pronunciation. But apostasy is that turning away from the revealed truth of the Word of God.
Isn’t that exactly where we are today? The churches, for the most part, have apostatized. They have turned their backs on the basic truths of Scripture. And this is why all the false teachings are having such a free run in so many of our main-line denominations. And this is why so many theologians and pastors and preachers are denying the Virgin birth. They are denying the literal, physical, visible Resurrection of Christ as just so much methodology. They have turned their backs on the revealed truth of the Word of God. We’re in it, so now then, what does that tell you and me? We could be expecting the Day of Christ at any time because the apostasy has now come about.
Let’s look further. “..there shall come a falling away first….“ (apostasy). There’s also a second definition of apostasy. We see it here and other places in our New Testament. It is actually translated, “departure,” as a person departing from one place to another. So, you might say that within verse three, you not only have the apostecia of Christendom turning it’s back upon the truth of the Word of God, but also the departure of the Christian himself; we’re going to be taken out. And then, as soon as the apostasy has come on the scene, there shall be the revealing of whom? That ‘man of sin,’ who will be revealed, the son of perdition. Who is that? The Anti-christ.
The Anti-christ will be revealed, I think, immediately. Not maybe within an hour or two, but a relatively short period of time after the Rapture, and this great world political leader, who is going to come on the scene. A very charismatic individual. The Book of Daniel says he is going to come in with flatteries, promising peace, prosperity, telling the world’s population that he’s got the answer to all their problems. Don’t you know the world is looking for that kind of a person. Oh, the world has got so many problems that they don’t know which way to turn. But, when this fellow comes on the scene, he’s going to seemingly have all the answers and the world will fall at his feet.
I remember right after World War II, when Europe was in a shambles, and before the Marshall Plan had really started taking hold. One of the European leaders, who was a Belgian general, said this in 1945, “What the world needs is a strong leader. And if such a man would come on the scene today, by tomorrow night the world will be falling at his feet!” Now, he said that in 1945. How much truer that is today. I maintain with all the turmoil that is going on in Eastern Europe and Russia and Europe itself and America, and even prosperous Japan, the world is suddenly realizing that we’ve got problems we don’t have any idea of how to cope with. Our leaders don’t really know which way to turn. And this man is going to come on the scene with such a charisma. He’s going to seemingly have all the answers and the world indeed will fall at his feet. He will have the world to rule and reign, as The Bible says he would.
II Thessalonians 2:4
“Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”
This man is going to be godless. Now remember, he is the Anti-christ, so he is the counterfeit Christ. He’s going to receive this power from Satan. And remember, Satan can perform a lot of good. I’m afraid too many people have the idea that all Satan promotes is skid row, the gross immorality. That’s the least of Satan’s concern. Satan’s main area of activity is in the upper of ecclesia. In the upper levels of our so-called religious leadership. The seminaries, our large denominations. Now, that’s where Satan works overtime. He doesn’t have to work on the poor guy who is down and out. He’s already got him. But if he can get the ecclesiastic leaders in his camp, then that power just funnels on down to the average person in the pew, and then he’s got them all.
We have to remember that Satan will promote good things, beautiful things, that the world is just in awe of, in order to accomplish his own end. Paul describes him here in verse 4 as one “…who opposeth and exalteth himself….“ Now, that’s what it takes to be a good political leader, doesn’t it? An egotist. And this guy is going to be the greatest that ever was, so far as personal egotism is concerned. “…who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he as God….“ You see, he’s going to set himself up as the god of this world. And he’s going to sit in the Temple of God. There’s only one place on this earth where God has ever had a Temple and will have it again, and that’s in Jerusalem. The Jew is getting hungry for their Temple to come back, and one of these days they are going to have it. I think it’s going to almost come up overnight. I personally think it’s prefabricated, and I think that the Israelites, when they get the go ahead, will raise that Temple so fast the world will hardly believe it’s happened. And we’re going to see in a little while, when we go back to the Book of Daniel, where the Old Testament introduces us to all of this. But, Paul is merely putting the capstone on it. Read on:
II Thessalonians 2:5
“Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?”
Paul writes to the Thessalonian believer. You know how long he was with the Thessalonians? – about two weeks. He saw them converted out of paganism. He taught them the doctrines of Grace and even took the time to teach them end-time things. I remember many years ago, I only had one person who ever brought it up. But, as soon as he said, it I thought of that previous verse. He said, “I’m not concerned about end-times because God will probably take care of it in His own way, and it doesn’t make any difference if I know what’s going to happen, or how it’s going to happen.” I said, “Now, wait a minute.” If Paul took the time, way back there in about 55 A.D. with new converts out of paganism to teach them things concerning the end of our Church Age, then don’t you think it’s good that you and I know it when we are actually in it?” Absolutely; we have to know these things. And we have to know what the Scripture teaches so that we know what to look for.
You remember what we read in Daniel in our last lesson? “…Oh the wicked shall do wickedly, but the wise shall understand….“ And like I told you a lesson or two ago, a gentleman that we led to The Lord a couple of years ago, how all of a sudden (and I’ve had people tell me that down through the years, as soon as they got a true insight into the Word of God and the end time things), every headline, every news item is telling them that this Book is true and it’s all coming as God said it would. Now, let’s look at verse 6:
II Thessalonians 2:6
“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.”
Let’s pick that verse apart. We’ve got two personalities involved here. We’ve got one personality that has to put the brakes on things so that the other personality won’t come in and do his work before the appointed time. Do you see that? Read it again: “Now he who withholdeth” (or is holding back), “that he (the other person), “might be revealed in his time….“, (and not ahead of it). Because God is a stickler for His own time-table.
For the last 1900 years or so, I’ve always taught that God’s time clock has stopped. But as soon as the Church is taken out of the way, God’s time clock kicks back in gear and it’s going to be right on schedule. So, Paul is saying here, that as we come to the end and the Church is taken out of the way, or just before the Church is taken out of the way, there has to be a person that will hold back this man, Anti-christ, from usurping the power that he’s going to have for the seven years. He has to hold it until the right time.
II Thessalonians 2:7
“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.”
Paul says, “For the mystery”, (or the secret), “of iniquity doth already work.” Do you know when the mystery of iniquity began? Basically, at the Tower of Babel. Oh, I know it goes back to the Garden of Eden. But at the Tower of Babel, is when all things began that are now reaching a crescendo, right before our very eyes. The explosion in the Oriental religions, the New Age movement. And what’s the heart and soul of the New Age movement? That we can become our own god! Oh, this whole idea of positive thinking sounded so good a few years ago didn’t it? But, we can expose it now for what it really is. It’s New Ageism. The whole concept is that you can become your own god, and if you can become your own god, then who do you not need? The real One. And this is what is exploding all around us. That’s the only word I can use for it. It’s coming into the churches. And people are blind to it. It’s the mystery of iniquity already at work. “…only he who now hindereth…“ (now I’m using the new language rather than the old). “…only he who now hindereth will hinder, until he,…“ that hinderer, “…is taken out of the way.”
Just think for a moment. What person has the power today to hold back, like a dam on a river, the forces of Satan, so that things won’t break loose and start bringing in the Tribulation until the right time. It’s the Holy Spirit. So, the Holy Spirit here is the hinderer. Now, where is the Holy Spirit dwelling today? In you and I! In the heart and life of every believer. So, the only break that God has on the earth against the influx of all this evil work is the believer and the indwelling Holy Spirit. That’s God’s brake on the system. And that’s why we have to know our Book; to know what we believe and we have to stand on it. I was thinking the other night, how many of us (and I asked myself this same question) would endure the torture and martyrdom of the believers back in the Reformation? I doubt if I could. Their torture was unbelievable. They were laid out on the rack and cranked up until every bone in their body was broken, and yet they survived to walk like a cripple. How many of us could be peacefully tied to a stake and the brush piled around us, waiting for them to light the torch? It happened all the time.
But, you see this is where we’re to stand. We’re to be so rooted in the Word of God that none of those things would scare us. They do me. It’s like an old pastor of mine told me years ago: when I was just a young believer. he said, “Les, don’t worry about it. When the time comes, and if it does come, God will give Grace.” Well, I’m resting on that because evidently He does, because those people back there would have never been able to survive and go through what they did. So, the Holy Spirit dwelling in the lives of the believers, are like a dam in the river to hold back this flood of iniquity. And then when He’s taken out of the way, it will be just like lifting that dam out of the river, let’s look at verse 8:
II Thessalonians 2:8
“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming….”
The newer translations have the word “One” after the word “Wicked” in the first part of this verse. That is the Anti-christ. He will be revealed. Now, that comma skips you seven years to the end, “…whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” In other words, that’s when the Anti-christ will meet his doom. But he’s going to have seven years. Let’s go back to Daniel Chapter 9. We’ll see if we can finish down to verse 27 in this lesson, in order to validate this seven- year period of time as definitely in our future (not our future, because we’re going to be gone, but in the future of the planet).
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”
That “seventy weeks are determined upon thy people,…” and that word `weeks’ here is used as we would use, `dozen.’ If I would say so many dozen, what would you automatically do? You would multiply it by 12. A week is always seven, and so seventy weeks of years is (a lot of the new translations have already calculated it for you and what have they got?) 490 years. “Four hundred and ninety years are determined upon thy people…“ Daniel’s people. And who are Daniel’s people? The Jew – Israel. “…and upon thy holy city, (Jerusalem) to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity,…” That all took place when? When Christ died on the Cross. And you remember several lessons ago this was one of the verses that we split with a parenthesis and a dash, because the next part of this verse is still future. It didn’t happen at Christ’s first coming. “…that is to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy.“ That hasn’t happened yet. It will when He returns and sets up His kingdom, but it didn’t happen at His first coming.
Come down through these next verses, but what you really figure out here that even though 490 years were in God’s time table back here for the Nation of Israel, leading up to the rejection of The Messiah, would only total 483 years. Which means that there are seven years left that were not fulfilled at Christ’s first coming.
Chronologists and archaeologists have teamed up and they have actually found the decree that Daniel mentions here, that gave the Jew permission to go back after their Temple had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar; it was dated, and from that date, it was March 14, 445 B.C. Up until Palm Sunday, was exactly 483 years. That was fulfilled. But, the prophecy said 490 years. And so that’s why Bible scholars have sometime referred to the Tribulation as Daniel’s 70th week. Sixty-nine of them were fulfilled at the Cross, but the 70th week, or that final seven years is still unfulfilled. It’s been pushed out into the future. Let’s drop down to verse 27, it says, “…And he (the Anti-christ) shall confirm the covenant with many for seven years.” Now, there is the triggering mechanism for the Tribulation!